Abu Abdollah Jafar ibn Mohammad Rudaki (ca.858-941), a Persian poet and a talented singer and musician, was born in Panjakent, Tajikistan, and served as a court poet to the Sāmānid ruler Naṣr II (r. 914–943) in Bukhara (now in modern-day Uzbekistan). Rudaki was among the first to write in the New Persian language.
Persian was the official language of the regions under Sassanian rule (224-651). After the Arab conquests of the regions, Persian continued to be the official language of the successive Muslim dynasties, but it was written in the Arabic scrip and termed “New Persian.” The language and culture spread outside the historical Persian-speaking boundaries into Central Asia and northern India. Rudaki is considered a pioneer of the Tajik-Persian language.
Of the thousands of verses of prose attributed to Rudaki, only a few have survived. In addition to his collection of poems, one of his most important contributions to literature is his translation from Arabic to Persian of Kalilah wa Dimnah, a collection of fables of Indian origin, which earned his fame in Persio-Islamic literature.
A street and a park in Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan, are named after him along with a literary prize, a museum, schools, and libraries.
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